• Bees don't like diesels!

    Diesel fumes may be reducing the availability of almost half the most common flower odours that bees use to find their food, new research has found.

    The new findings suggest that toxic nitrous oxide (NOx) in diesel exhausts could be having an even greater effect on bees’ ability to smell out flowers than was previously thought.

    NOx is a poisonous pollutant produced by diesel engines which is harmful to humans, and has also previously been shown to confuse bees’ sense of smell, which they rely on to sniff out their food.
     

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Re-thinking plant and insect diversity

    New research by biologists at the University of York shows that plant and insect diversity is more loosely linked than scientists previously believed. Insects and flowering plants are two of the most diverse groups of organism on the planet. For a long time the richness of these two lineages has been regarded as linked, with plant-feeding insect groups considered unusually species rich compared with their nearest relatives. In a new analysis, based on the most complete tree of insect relationships to date, researchers at the University have shown that there is not a simple relationship between insect diet and diversity.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Nearly 1/3 of world's cacti species facing extinction

    Thirty-one percent of cactus species are threatened with extinction, according to the first comprehensive, global assessment of the species group by IUCN and partners, published today in the journal Nature Plants. 

    This places cacti among the most threatened taxonomic groups assessed on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ - more threatened than mammals and birds.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Swedish sand lizards like climate change

    Higher temperatures result in Swedish sand lizards laying their eggs earlier, which leads to better fitness and survival in their offspring, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

    The findings indicate that climate change could have positive effects on this population of high-latitude lizard, but the authors warn that climate change is likely to affect a whole suite of traits, in addition to egg-laying date, which together would have an unknown combined effect on survival and reproductive success.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Ecotourism can put wild animals at risk

    Ecotourism, in which travelers visit natural environments with an eye toward funding conservation efforts or boosting local economies, has become increasingly popular in recent years. In many cases it involves close observation of or interaction with wildlife, such as when tourists swim with marine animals. Now, life scientists have analyzed more than 100 research studies on how ecotourism affects wild animals and concluded that such trips can be harmful to the animals, whose behaviors may be altered in ways that put them at risk.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Why Elephants Rarely Get Cancer

    Why elephants rarely get cancer is a mystery that has stumped scientists for decades. A study led by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah and Arizona State University, and including researchers from the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation,may have found the answer.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Chernobyl considered unlikely nature reserve for some species

    When you think of Chernobyl you probably think along the lines of “nuclear disaster” and a “no-go” area, but new research shows that with humans now absent from the region, several mammal species including wild boar and wolves, are increasing in number in this most unlikely nature reserve.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Arctic butterflies adapt to warming climate by getting smaller

    New research shows that butterflies in Greenland have become smaller in response to increasing temperatures due to climate change. 

    It has often been demonstrated that the ongoing rapid climate change in the Arctic region is causing substantial change to Arctic ecosystems. Now Danish researchers demonstrate that a warmer Greenland could be bad for its butterflies, becoming smaller under warmer summers. 

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers trace how birds, fish go with the flow

    Fish and birds, when moving in groups, could use two “gears”—one slow and another fast—in ways that conserve energy, a team of New York University researchers has concluded. Its findings offer new insights into the contours of air and water flows--knowledge that could be used to develop more energy-efficient modes of transportation.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Are fish the greatest athletes?

    When you think of the world’s greatest athletes, names like Usain Bolt generally spring to mind, but scientists have discovered the best athletes could well be found in the water, covered in scales.

    It turns out that fish are far more effective at delivering oxygen throughout their body than almost any other animal, giving them the athletic edge over other species.

    >> Read the Full Article